October 21, 2004
Fornino - Great Pizza in Williamsburg
Last night was the opening night of Fornino, the new pizza place on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg. Dutifully, Adam and I went to try it out and it was excellent. We had three small pies, sampling as much as we could without getting too full. Michael Ayoub, the chef/owner, has three "generations" of pizza on his menu and we sampled piesfrom two - the first and third.
Our first pie was a margherita classica, which had tomato, mozzarella, basil and two parmesan cheeses. Next, we had the patate e salciccia, a fennel sausage, potatoes, fontina and cherry tomato concoction. Finally, we had the vongole, which was clams, mozzarella, parmesan, garlic and oregano. All the pies were smalls, which were $8 for the first generation and $10 for the third (the second was also $10). Large pies run $14 and $16.
The consensus favorite was the margherita, which was super light with a perfect crust. Our second pie was rather eh, with the potatoes "not adding anything" and the sausage lacking spice. The clam pizza was very good, but overladen with oregano. In a twist from a more traditional clam pie that you might see in New England, the clams were served on the shell. If there were less oregano, I think this would have been my favorite pie.
As it's first night open, the pizza was very good and it will probably only improve from here out. Fornino's has a greenhouse out back where they want to grow some of their own ingredients. The oven at Fornino is wood burning, which is evident when you walk by it. Fornino has been dubbed a "artisinal pizza" place, which seems to be the trend these days.
For some reason, we decided to get desert after the meal (damn persuasive waitress). While I had the spumoni, Adam had the ice cream cookies, which had pumpkin, mint chocolate chip, and vanilla cookies. Turns out that after desert, we were stuffed anyway.
A great pizza place and Tasti D-Lite on the same block in Williamsburg? There goes the neighborhood.
Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink at 7:55 AM
god, those pictures are awful. stupid light in restaurant.
Posted by: tien at October 21, 2004 9:11 AM
The ice cream cookies look really yummy. Have you/Slice tried Franny's? I've head good things but haven't made it there yet.
Posted by: corie at October 21, 2004 9:12 AM
i have not had franny's, but i know adam has an it's been on slice. it's hard for me to make it out to park slope. unless there is a reason.
i forgot to note that the crust was very tasty on the first pie and the last pie. the 2nd was not as great and consistent, but i chalk that up to opening day kinks. it was firm and crisp, yet chewy.
Posted by: tien at October 21, 2004 9:44 AM
CORRECTION...ALTHOUGH IT IS BILLED AS A WOOD BURNING OVEN, IT IS NOT ,IT HAS SOME WOOD IN IT.
BUT THE OVEN IS A GAS OVEN A CAN NEVER REACH 1000
DEGREES!THE ONLY REAL BRICK OVEN IN WILLIAMSBURG I BELIEVE IS AT BRICK OVEN GALLERY, THE BEST PIZZA ANYWHERE.
AND ACCORDING TO TO RULES OF TRUE NAPLES PIZZA CAN NOT EVEN BE CONSIDERED REAL ITALIAN PIZZA ,WITH GAS RUNNING THE OVEN.
I WAS BORN IN NAPLES, HAD PIZZA AT BRANDI TWICE A WEEK FOR MOST OF MY LIFE( BRANDI BY THE WAY WAS WHERE THE FIRST PIZZA MARGARITE WAS CREATED)THE OVEN AND THE PIZZA WOULD BE BANNED FROM NAPLES.
Posted by: JOE at October 21, 2004 10:32 AM
tien, i really think you should host a pizza tasting. we could all bring our favorite pizza (i guess we'd need to heat them up when we got to you, though...or all get delivery if they'd deliver all the way out to Greenpoint) and beer.
btw, i was up in your hood running on saturday.it gets pretty damn desolate up near box street.
Posted by: corie at October 21, 2004 12:14 PM
joe, i'm with you on doubting the 1000 degrees, but the oven looked like it had a lot of wood in it. sure, i can't be certain that it doesn't have gas, but you can't be certain that it does.
corie, that would be great, but there would be some major issues with quality control.
Posted by: tien at October 21, 2004 12:58 PM
we could use slice's top 5's in each accessbile borough.
Posted by: corie at October 21, 2004 2:07 PM
i was there last night too. as for the oven... it was wood burning and gas, could definitely see blue flames coming from the back. crust wasn't as good as franny's or una pizza napoletana, though i liked the pizza more than at u.p.n overall (franny's is still the best). as it's in my neighborhood i'll frequent it often.
i like brick oven gallery a lot, but am not a fan of their crust -- not sure what it is about it but almost is biscuity?
Posted by: bill p at October 21, 2004 3:31 PM
to all...i am not knocking the pizza! it is pretty good american pizza, but the oven is not wood alone it is gas. it is illegal to build a wood burning oven in that area.
it must ne grandfathered in,from an existing business.
i am a vp for Canali Clothes and have eaten pizza in 37 states and six countries, fornino is pretty good at best, but is not italian Pizza.
Posted by: joe at October 21, 2004 3:57 PM
dude...you must be a new yawker! from chicago and can't say i'd ruin a pizza (or as u call it "pie" really? come on) with all that crap! u call yourselves pizza lovers? I'm mean really?
Posted by: chicagopizza at October 21, 2004 4:22 PM
hmm, i didn't know they had any good pizza in chicago. i thought it was just some mildly cooked dough.
and yes, i am a new yorker. doesn't it say that on my site?
Posted by: tien at October 21, 2004 4:30 PM
Pipe down, you Windy City windbag. Chicago "pizza" blows. What do you mean "ruin a pie with all that crap"? What do you people do? I'll tell ya: You load up those casseroles masquerading as pizzas with tons of filler. That's quanity, not quality, my friend. Absolute garbage.
Posted by: Adam at October 21, 2004 4:30 PM
the pizza patate at sullivan st bakery rules. although i wouldn't classify it as "real pizza". i love potatoes and bread. im drooling. dammit why didnt i go there last time iw as in town!?
Posted by: rachelle at October 21, 2004 4:35 PM
"potatoe"? You Dan Quayle'd in the second paragraph!
Seriously, the pizza's sound great, but those cookies look awesome.
Love the porno in the Sullivan St bakery url.
Posted by: joe at October 21, 2004 5:20 PM
ha, thanks joe. i was debating between potato and potatoes.
Posted by: tien at October 21, 2004 5:23 PM
The cookies were good, but as Bill P. pointed out on the eGullet thread on Fornino's, the cookies need to be softer. You have to exert too much pressure to bite through them, and it pushes the ice cream out. The peanut butter cookie-pumpkin ice cream one was the best.
Posted by: Adam at October 21, 2004 6:29 PM
oh man oh man. sorry I missed that pizza. good thing that place is on the walk home. pizzzzaaaa and that faux ice cream next door every day now!
Posted by: yp at October 21, 2004 6:48 PM
YP: I'll be going a couple more times before I do a writeup on Slice. I'll give you a shout next time I'm fixin' to go.
Posted by: Adam at October 22, 2004 12:43 AM
Tien, I'm certain the oven is a prefrabicted gas oven...................lined with brick and with some wood added for the show.
I ASKED THE CHEF, BUT YOU CAN SEE THE BLUE FLAMES FLICKERING FROM THE GAS.
REMEMBER I WAS BORN IN NAPLES, IN FACT GOING BACK TOMMORROW ....SO I'LL BE EATING AT BRANDI SUNDAY.
THEY INVENTED PIZZA MARGARITE AND HAVE BEEN IN OPERATION SINCE 1780.
THIS SITE IS FUN ,I WILL WRITE ABOUT THE PIZZA FROM BRANDI WHEN I RETURN TO THE STATES.
Posted by: joe at October 22, 2004 3:29 PM
AK: Sounds good. I walked by today and that oven is tops. A+ I can take photos too, but my webhost ate my website :(
Posted by: yp at October 24, 2004 2:35 PM
JP...the oven is a toy it is not tops!
it's a gas oven , I thought this site has people who know pizza and ovens !
if you want to see a real oven and have real pizza BRICK OVEN GALLERY...anyone can make puffy crust .
the chef walking around in dress whites on bedford Ave...what a joke, and an even bigger ego!again the Pizza is prety good at best!
Posted by: joe at October 24, 2004 11:06 PM
dude, its pizza
Posted by: Jeff at October 25, 2004 10:05 AM
joe, i clearly gather that you don't like the oven or the representation of the place that much. for a site that's much more about pizza, check out slice.
jeff, my thoughts exactly. as much as i love pizza, it's still just food. nothing to get too worked up about. at least not on this site.
Posted by: tien at October 25, 2004 10:32 AM
JUST RETURNED FROM NAPLES(ITALY ...AFTER READING SOME OFF THE COMMENTS ,AFTER MY LAST WRITINGS I FEEL I HAD TO EXPLAIN ...NAPLES IS IN ITALY.
YES WE TAKE PIZZA VERY SERIOUSLY IN ITALY,IT WAS PERFECTED THERE!
I HAD PIZZA TWICE AT BRANDI..THE BEST IN THE WORLD.
AFTER READING THE ANGRY REPLIES TO MY LAST THOUGHTS..I DECIDED TO GO BACK TO FORNINO,A NEW REVIEW FOLLOWS;
POSSIBLY THE WORST EXCUSE FOR PIZZA I EVER HAD.
I HAD TO ADD SALT TO A MARGARITE TWICE, THE TEXTURE OF THE CRUST WAS BETWEEN A RITZ CRACKER AND A FROZEN PIZZA...YOU WILL ALL BE HAPPY TO KNOW I WILL NEVER READ OR WRITE ON THIS POOR EXCUSE FOR A PIZZA SITE AGAIN.
TO ALL IN MY FIRST WRITING I SUGGESTED GOING TO BRICK OVEN GALLERY...PLEASE DONT,LEAVE ROOM FOR THOSE WITH TASTE BUDS.
I WILL BE WRITING AND PAYING FOR ADDS ,WARNING THE PUBLIC TO DISREGARD THIS SHAM OF PIZZA REVIEWERS
AS NOTHING MORE THAN POOR , UNEDUCATED BEDFORD AVE TRASH...AS IS FORNINO.
Posted by: JOE at October 30, 2004 12:15 AM
joe, it's a blog. chill the hell out. not that you'll be reading this comment.
Posted by: tien at October 30, 2004 9:54 AM
tien, you've just lost a dedicated reader that was joe. maybe you need to go sit in the corner and think about where you're headed in life. is this really the path you want to take? losing readers like joe the pizza-loving psycho who clearly knows pizza because you know, hes been from naples and ate at brandis twice a week for most of his life?
Posted by: halo | veritech pilot at October 31, 2004 5:35 PM
Oh my! Pizza and oysters is nowhere to be found here in Italy :-)
Love your site, I'm discovering it these very moments and it's taking me so much because gives me the possibility to see and feel NYC, which I still haven't visited and looking forward to.
Posted by: stef at November 8, 2004 9:48 AM
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